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I was just looking though questions and stumbled upon this question (now deleted). There is nothing special about the question (and it's a dupe of many other very similar questions) but I felt that the I could help the OP with some basic programming given what I saw in the question and I wanted to give and answer. I started to write something but just as I was about to post it the OP deleted the question and I couldn't answer.

I already had the answer written out and I wanted the OP to have. I checked MSO and saw that you can't send private messages to another user, but I know that sometimes when two people discuss things in the comments, an automatic comment is added that suggest that they discuss it in a chat. Thus, I though that I could create a chat and give the answer there (which I did). After I did all that, it struck me that I had to get in touch with the OP to give a link to the chat. Since I knew that I couldn't send a message I left a comment on [another recent question of the OP].

I'm thinking that creating a new chat like that wan't really the right thing, and I'm pretty sure commenting like that on another answer is just wrong.

So, I have 2 sets of questions:

  1. Can you create small throw away chat rooms like what I was trying to do and like the automatic chat rooms that are created when two people discuss things in comments?

  2. Is there some more correct approach to delivering a "too late" answer? Should I perhaps have voted to undelete the question (even though the OP deleted it) and waited to answer it?

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3  
The room didn't receive flags, you're just seeing flags for the entirety because you have over 10k reputation on Stack Overflow. The image was flagged as offensive, which is why it came up (for you to mark the flag as valid/invalid/not sure), and was posted in a different room. –  Tim Stone Feb 27 at 20:29
    
@TimStone Oh, I didn't know that. I removed it from the question since it's not relevant at all then. –  David Rönnqvist Feb 27 at 20:30

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Small throw-away chat rooms happen all the time. As you noted, one way these get created is when comment threads get long and somebody gets a "move this to chat" prompt. So there's no problem with having the room.

(Note: the room will eventually be frozen, when it's been inactive for a while, and if it doesn't have very many messages it will be automatically deleted. See the chat FAQ.)

As for letting the person know about the room, there are a couple options:

  • If this person has visited the site's main chat room recently, you can ping him in there. You can say something like "hey, I had an answer for that question if you're interested; see (chat link goes here)". This is the least-disruptive way to reach him since (a) he's already used chat recently and (b) it doesn't leave any residue on the site.

  • You can leave a short comment on one of his posts. I would recommend picking something that's not currently active (and thus isn't getting other comments). It's a good idea to keep track of where you left it (the activity tab on your profile will record this) so you can go back and delete the comment in a few days. Also, note that some sites are stricter about "off-topic" comments than others, so follow the norms of your site on this.

It is also possible to ping a user and invite him into a chat room directly. As a moderator on another site I've heard some complaints from people who've been the recipients of such pings (they've found them invasive), so tread carefully here. If the user deleted his question then either he's solved his problem or he's realized he doesn't need to, so your offer of an answer, while generous, may not seem as important to him as it does to you. If you want to go this route, perhaps ask in the main chat room if that's considered ok and see what people there say.

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